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Dump to be transformed into a PC Lynn Aston memorial garden gym

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

PC Lynn Aston

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WORK is set to begin to transform a fly-tipping hotspot into a green community space to remember and continue the good work of PC Lynn Aston.

St Paul's Residents Association (SPRA) has been given the go-ahead to create a "unifying space" to bring families together.

The derelict space in St Paul's Road will be used for people to grow vegetables, exercise in the "garden gym", get to know their neighbours, and give children somewhere to "go and have adventures".

The police officer, who worked tirelessly to help troubled youngsters break the cycle of re-offending, has inspired a legacy of positive action since losing her battle with cancer in 2011.

The Aston project, based in Hester's Way, provides work placements and fun activities for young people to keep them away from crime.

The Lynn Aston Community Space will be the third in an ever-growing garden scheme for SPRA, which includes an edible garden at the university's Francis Close Hall campus, a Midwinter allotment, and an on-going St Paul's ward front gardens project.

Daud MacDonald, vice chair of St Paul's Residents' Association, said: "Lynn Aston was really well known in the area – she was on first name terms with lots of people, and a friend to St Paul's.

"Before she died she helped us establish the edible garden at FCH Campus, and she'd expressed a desire to have a part of it as a butterfly garden, but it was too small. So after she died, a few of us spoke about this plot of land."

It so happened that Cheltenham Borough Council was looking for voluntary groups to take on a disused plot next to the Honeybourne Line that was swamped with rubbish and completely overgrown with Japanese knotweed.

Two and a half years on, SPRA is on the cusp of receiving the second version of a licence from solicitors, which, once signed, will formally contract the wardenship of the plot to the residents association's garden group.

British Conservation Trust volunteers are set to clear the thicket of plants and rubbish from the patch on January 11.

A Gloucestershire police spokeswoman said: "Lynn Aston was extremely dedicated to the community and we are pleased to see her passion for the area continuing through projects like this."

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